What to expect
TVWebDesigns in the process of building you your site will have a lot of questions....and this is written to help you think about your potential web site. Whether you are considering a re-design of an existing site to a brand new presence there are multiple aspects to the finished result which will not only dictate the look and feel of your site but cost as well. From logo creation if needed to domain name registration to design and any interactivity you'd like on the finished product the considerations are numerous. Feel free to peruse the following sections to get an idea of the steps involved.
What's Your Idea?
Upon initial contact with TVWebDesigns what we'll be looking for are some basic ideas, where you're at, and what you want.
- Is this a brand new site or site redesign? If it's a redesign do you know of anything "broken" on the site or wish would work a different way?
- Will you be bringing some prepared content with you(images, text, logo, etc.) or do you need any or all to be created? If you need images of your business created to video shot we can do it.
- Do you have any examples of what you'd like. If you've seen something on the internet you like feel free to send along a link to any site(s). It won't be copied but part the discovery process is what you envision and any information is good information.
- Do you want to have it hosted and/or maintained with TVWebDesigns? If you are comfortable with finding your own host and maintaining your web site we have no problem with that. Most of our websites are CMS based with access to the back-end to easily edit what most need. You could start with us and move it later if you need a "breaking in period" as well.
- Who is your target audience and what do you want to achieve? This is an extremely important consideration for it will dictate just about any direction we go in building your web site. It will effect SEO, interactivity, domain name registration, etc.
- What type of interactivity are you looking for? Beyond the website design itself what can people do on your site? Examples are contact forms so potential clients can contact you, a full blown forum integrated into the site, the ability for customers to schedule services online, integration with a back-office POS application, and many more. TVWebDesigns will have ideas for you as well but beyond looks functionality needs to be addressed as well.
- What's your budget? There is no way around this question but since there are essentially free to low cost solutions out there to simply throw up a basic site such as Wix.com it's pretty safe to assume you need a web site designer due to time constraints, technical know-how, and/or just wanting more than what such services can do. They tend to be pretty limiting. Our goal at this point is to simply identify if what is required for your site is simply feasible within your budget.
- Is this time sensitive? Is there a deadline you are trying to meet or expected completion date? TVWebDesigns is typically working on 2, maybe 3, sites at a time in different stages. Those will not be pushed back in order to meet turnaround time that can't be met but there may be options to speed up the build time.
Content Strategy and Architecture
This is where the basic building blocks of the web site are created. We'll have more questions and nothing is set in stone but in many ways this is where the fundamental part of your site is created of which most aspects are based. This is really just a text based idea of the site and how it will link together and flow.
- Domain name creation: Much of the content creation is designed with SEO in mind and the domain name itself is extremely important. It is just not what your visitors see in the address bar of their browser but is also incorporated within the website itself. If needed we can walk you through the registration of the domain name(it is yours) and eventually get it to point to your web site. On a side note, TVWebDesigns will weigh for you some benefits of the .tld( those are the .com, .net, .org, etc. you see on the end of the domain name) where there are now a great many new ones to choose from such as .shop, .forum, .tech, and many more. We have some pretty good insights into the use of the new .tlds which you may or may not benefit from.
- Hierarchy development: This is essentially the creation of your navigation structure. At this point we know what textual content and additional features(photo gallery, contact us page, for example)you are seeking and essentially build a site map. There's no real visual element here but this is the point where some thought on your end as to what you actually want to have textually on individual pages. This is the foundation though nothing is concrete....tweaking along the way is always inevitable.
- Content development: Visuals, visuals, visuals. Though not incorporated yet we need to get together and walk through any images, animations, video, and just flat out color scheme to go with. Whether you already have a logo you're bringing to the table or need one created, for example, it needs to fit the overall look and feel. At this point we're just thinking ahead of how the textual content will flow with the imagery.
The web site is starting to resemble what the finished product is like. Around this time you'll be granted access to view it's development(for we have something to show you)and suggest changes as we go. Much of the logic of the site is in place and it's time to make it look pretty with different pieces coming together. Again, nothing is set in stone and if you come up with a brilliant idea here it's not too late.
- Wireframing: Wireframing is simply a term used to develop the controls of where each section of the web site will occur....this part of the design is really just taking the bricks we have and knowing where each individual one is going to go. Oftentimes the site is created in Photoshop as just an image and then cut up into different sections or blocks. The creation of templates or themes(Joomla and WordPress respectively) begins here and we may find an existing use of a template fits the needs or not. Sometimes it is much easier to build one from scratch then use an existing one and strip it of what is not needed.
- Display: We've got the empty spaces now and it's time to fill them in. This is a pretty intensive part of the process where the different parts are really coming together. Navigation, individual pages, creating/tweaking CSS so it displays properly in all resolutions...making it responsive.
At this point we've got a web site that is looking pretty good but not everything works. Links work and one can navigate around the site but elements are missing. Perhaps during the creative design phase some code was introduced to make images "pop" or slide, a "contact us" page was developed, etc. This is all generally done on an in-house server that mimics the real thing but now it's time to make sure it works in a "live" environment and also if there is any custom development of, for example, integration with a POS system outside the website, that it integrates and functions as intended.
- Application Integration: By application what is meant is any feature that relies on some form of communication outside of the web site itself. Contact forms are an example where such forms need to connect to email servers in order for you to receive a customers request. Integrations with other applications you may use in the office to even connecting the site to your Facebook and/or twitter account are other examples. This can be a relatively short process or in the case of something like an online store where multiple connections to multiple entities are made at the same time to come together for a purchase a bit longer. The visual design is still being tweaked for anything we introduce but no major departures from what has already been created. At this point there may be some light or heavy things done on your end. Web stores require payment processors, possible accounts created at your shippers website, etc. Integration to Facebook requires a basic weblink. Google Analytics are incorporated into every site where you'll want to create an account with them. We'll give you a heads up during our initial discussions on what actions you need to take so we can get it all talking together.
- SEO and Site Optimization: Once we've got things working the focus becomes on some additional coding and optimization so your web site not only ranks high but loads quickly. Every image at this point is put through optimal compression, database queries are checked for duplicates, and the code necessary to load the page compressed as well. As a side note, upon request, TVWebDesigns can also incorporate an automated sitemap generator that submits daily to search engines such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo your site. This is just a small part of SEO but it can speed up the process of getting there and coupled with other utilities keep you there.
QA and It's Yours
Your project is done and it's time to go live with it. If hosting with TVWebDesigns we'll get it up on our hosting servers and "flip the switch". If you decide not to host with us we'll still install it for you at the host of your choice. We'll make sure that whatever host you choose meets the requirements necessary to run the site(not all hosts are created equal) and either way we'd like to have access to the site for a couple of months to make sure aspects like SEO are functioning as desired. You will be shown how to use the site whether it is simply using the CSM/back-end part of Joomla or WordPress to alter and add text to effectively get the most of any e-commerce option if installed. Quite often if desired even before this point you can be given access to a generic version of the Joomla or WordPress CMS to simply play with. There is also no problem in making minor "tweaks" to the web site during this time. And, whether hosting with us or not if you feel you need to have maintenance on the site to update it we do offer that service.
- Quality Assurance: This is simply the process where a web site is run through an application that mimics real-world use. By now it's done but if an issue is found it is fixed. This part of the development is at it's core making sure there are no bottlenecks in the design that effects performance/speed and if anything is found it can be resolved. You are also given full access to the site at this time to make sure what has been created for you exceeds your expectations.
- Going Live: Fun time. As mentioned we will install it for you regardless of the web host you choose but before this time if not using TVWebDesigns you'll need to run it by us so we can make sure it is a quality host. You've gone to this length and the site is working smoothly but a poor host can greatly effect not only how quickly your site renders but functions as well. Once you have the keys it is yours and you'll receive a complete copy of the site including all images, code, etc. As part of the service whether you choose a maintenance option or not your live site will also be checked on for a couple of months to ensure continued functionality.